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December 3rd, 2012
10:17 AM ET

A gun control halftime show: Should Bob Costas have spoken out on Belcher suicide?

There are a few things you can usually expect out of an NFL halftime show. A debate about gun control isn't one of them.

But Sunday wasn't a normal day in the NFL. It was two days after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, before killing himself outside the front door of the Chiefs' practice facility.

It was shocking. And it was expected that this tragedy would seep through into Sunday's football coverage.

But many people were not expecting Bob Costas to make a plea for gun control.

During halftime of NBC's "Sunday Night Football," Costas blamed the nation's gun culture for what happened between Belcher and his girlfriend, remarks that set off a heated debate about whether the sportscaster should have launched into what some called a "rant" on gun control.

Here's a transcript of Costas' comments:

"Well, you know that it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again: Something like this really puts it all in perspective.

Well, if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective.

You want some actual perspective on this? Well, a bit of it comes from a Kansas City based-writer, Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree but who today said it so well today that we may as well as quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.

‘Our current gun culture,' Whitlock wrote,  '... ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenaged boys bloody and dead. ...

'Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.'

In the coming days, Jovan Belcher's actions and their possible connections to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today." (You can read Whitlock's column here.)

Costas' remarks seemed to send the Internet into an immediate feeding frenzy.  Was it appropriate for him to talk about a political issue during a sports show? What is the right forum for this kind of discussion? Was he only saying what everyone else was already thinking? The comments kept flying:

Costas declined to comment on his remarks.

Gun control has always been divisive. If you remember, it had been practically impossible to get the presidential candidates to talk about the issue. "Saturday Night Live" even mocked the candidates' avoidance of it during a skit on the presidential debates.

There was equal outrage online Sunday regarding CBS' football preshow, which took five minutes before mentioning the tragedy and seemed to feature more about a Victoria's Secret fashion show and hard-hitting commentary about the color of the anchors' ties instead of a serious issue.

The main point here may be you can't please everybody. There will always be critics when it comes to an issue that sparks such intense debate. But does that mean you don't even touch it? Or did Costas' comments do exactly what he may have intended reigniting the debate over gun control?

Opinion: Manhood, football and suicide

Let us know how you feel about Costas' remarks in the polls below and sound off in the comments. We'd love to hear your take on the issue.

soundoff (1,256 Responses)
  1. CANADA

    When the most used one weapon used in murders in the USA is a gun than yes there is a gun problem. Seriously, alot of rednecks here

    December 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wondering

      Right on Canada.....it must be comfortable nestled in our blanket of freedom...moron.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bored already

    Bob Costas preaching about guns is about as useful as that trouser stain on WFAN, Carton talking about a woman's right to choose.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. MAC

    I have guns for target shooting and hunting, I have guns that were my mom and dad's, I have guns that were my grandfather's and great grandfather's, and I have guns to protect my family and property from those whose parents failed to teach them right from wrong and if they want something they need to work and earn it. If they threaten my family they deserve what I have the right to do to them.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sam

    The NRA is promoting guns since Obama was reelected. They have continued for 4 years saying Obama is going to control guns. Thus far, he hasn't, wish he would. The NRA makes millions in donations every time someone is murdered. This is a big deal for them. They always stay silent on any mass murders or any kind of a murder by guns. But they want this nation to be flooded with guns.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • oregonreign

      Actually the NRA has been promoting legal gun ownership since it's founding. Obama was quoted in college that no one should own a firearm. He also stated that the 'assault' weapons ban should be reinstated. More and more guns being bought and crime rate is going down, what gives?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wondering

      They also remain silent on the thousands of cases where people protect their family with a gun...

      December 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CANADA

    AWESOME....that was the most intelligent post yet....

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Scott

    Amazing when someone exercising their constitutional right upsets someone hugging theirs, the later thinks the first guy should be skinned, feathered, tarred, and fired.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. David Daemmer

    If GUNs were OUTLAWED.. then ONLY OUTLAWS would have GUNs !!!!!! Have rules like people with bad backgrounds are not allowed to carry.. BUT ENFORCE those laws and we haven't been doing that.!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. abc123

    The easier it is to kill, the more likely will be that outcome when you are emotionally vulnerable. Those who try to make the simplistic argument "he could have killed with a knife instead of a gun" are ignoring this.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wondering

      "emotionally vulnerable"......suck it up butter cup!!!

      December 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michele

    Good on Bob Costas– An excellent time to bring up the debate! If people didn't have such incredibly easy and ready access to firearms, we would see a reduction in the number of senseless partner/family killings and a reduction in the stand your ground (stupid) law. Easy access to guns makes it easy for people to end arguments immediately and violently and permanently. It's time to bring this out in the open and have a reasonable and open debate about curbing gun use in violent crimes. I read one of the earlier posts that "doesn't Costas know that if a man wanted to kill a woman that he could do it without a gun." A specious argument.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. No one

    Clearly it is still to early for a debate.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ShawnDH

    I think it's pretty obvious to anybody with a brain that this nation needs stricter gun control laws.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dogbreath

      We have plenty of those laws. They don't work, so how will more of them work better?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • losingatmonopoly

      @dogbreath: if the laws don't work, why does the NRA worry about more being passed?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Well Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation and Phoenix has the most lenient laws (concealed carry, no permit required). Chicago's gun related violent crime is double that of Phoenix. Have you done any reseach on this issue?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajac09

      Its pretty obvious that people will murder and commit suicide without guns how hell did you think they did it before the invention of the gun?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If there was strickt gun controll laws in place it still wold not prevent someting like this from takeing place. I know that in the city anyone can get a gun if they want to hand they are not legal guns.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • losingatmonopoly

      @ajac09: why did the handgun replace the sword and the rifle replace the arrow?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaime

      I think it's obvious to anyone with a brain that one should not draw conclusions with regards to human behavior until the problem is understood in it's entirety. I have a very good feeling you do not understand the problem in it's entirety. If you do, please...enlighten us so that we may all bask in the glory of this new-found knowledge.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      @losingatmonopoly

      See my previous post for evidence. These laws cost the NRA and gun manufacturers money. There is no evidence or common trend that putting in place a gun control law reduces crime, HOWEVER, by the statistics (link provided in reference post), allowing us to carry guns does reduce the crime rate. That's why the NRA is against it.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lagos

    Half the media is blaming this on guns. The other half is blaming it on a "macho culture" in football. Why does NOBODY seem concerned about mental wellness?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris Benoit

      guns are for wussies. Real men use their hands.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. losingatmonopoly

    Sorry, but the GOP just spent the last year contradicting everything that people are saying is wrong with what Costas said. They literally blamed the government for the death of a federal agent who was killed with a gun that crossed the border during Fast & Furious. Where's the "blame the shooter, not the gun" angle there? It was completely abandoned for political convenience, and many of the same people who are getting upset at Costas now were probably cheering on the GOP during the Fast & Furious blame game vs. the DOJ.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jaime

      One is an institution which is responsible for not getting people killed and instead making sure they are prosperous and safe. The other is a man, not obligated to anyone but merely obligated to follow the law. The man that killed the agent should be apprehended and help responsible...but having science class out on the field is just stupid. What did they expect would happen? Their hands are dirty and more directly so because they knew what the outcome would be. Whether they were used to kill agents or kill innocent Mexican civilians matters not...people died so these fools could have their little experiment. The second amendment is not an experiment. Do you understand now?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sick of NRA propaganda

    Good for Bob Costas. I agree with him 100%.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris Benoit

      Totally. Without guns, nobody would ever kill their spouse.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • losingatmonopoly

      @Chris Benoit: statistically, how many kill their spouse without a gun?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Bob Costas should be fired for his remarks, he was taking on a political liberal spin into a story concerning a mentally deranged individual.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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